Po­lice: Priests at­tacked at Phoenix church, 1 dies

The Covington News - - THE WIRE -

PHOENIX (AP) — A priest was shot and killed and an­other was in­jured at a Ro­man Catholic church in down­town Phoenix, set­ting off an in­tense search for sus­pects and clues.

The sur­viv­ing priest called 911 to re­port a bur­glary at the Mother of Mercy Mis­sion near the state Capi­tol around 9:30 p.m. Wed­nes­day and ad­min­is­tered last rites to the wounded cler­gy­man while wait­ing for po­lice to ar­rive. The Rev. Kenneth Walker died at the hospi­tal, and the Rev. Joseph Terra, 56, is hos­pi­tal­ized in crit­i­cal con­di­tion with un­spec­i­fied in­juries.

Po­lice have no sus­pects at this point. They are search­ing the neigh­bor­hood, in­ter­view­ing the in­jured priest and ex­am­in­ing phys­i­cal ev­i­dence from the scene. In­ves­ti­ga­tors said they are un­sure how many at­tack­ers were in­volved and if rob­bery was the mo­tive.

Po­lice Chief Daniel Gar­cia called it a “tragic and ap­palling crim­i­nal vi­o­la­tion.”

As po­lice in­ves­ti­gated the crime scene at the church, about a dozen parish­ioners gath­ered across the street, kneel­ing on the side­walk and say­ing the Lord’s Prayer in re­sponse to the loss of their beloved cler­gy­man. A bou­quet of flow­ers and a pho­to­graph of the dead priest lay on the side­walk.

Parish­ioner Diane Har­mon sobbed as she spoke of Walker and Terra and the “sense­less acts of cru­elty” that were car­ried out.

AP Photo/The Ari­zona Repub­lic, Nick Oza

Mater Mis­eri­cor­diae (Mother of Mercy) Mis­sion, church mem­bers, from left, Kirsten Duarte, her mother Theresa Duarte, and Mary Lan­glois, cry while lis­ten­ing to Phoenix Po­lice dur­ing a news con­fer­ence on Wed­nes­day, June 11, 2014. Po­lice say one priest was shot to death and an­other is in­jured af­ter an at­tack at the church in down­town Phoenix. The Ro­man Catholic Dio­cese of Phoenix on Thurs­day iden­ti­fied the slain priest as the Rev. Kenneth Walker and the in­jured priest as the Rev. Joseph Terra.

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